"I stopped and let them circle me, first because it was intriguing and, second, because, honestly, what could they do? Only knives, but all armed, and that made them even more interesting. Interesting. Fun.
Taking on bloodthirsty supernatural monsters is how Caliban and Niko Leandros make a living. But years ago--before they became a force to be reckoned with--the brothers were almost victims of a very human serial killer.
Unfortunately for them, that particular depraved killer was working as apprentice to a creature far more malevolent--the legendary Spring-heeled Jack. He's just hit town. He hasn't forgotten what the Leandros brothers did to his murderous protege. He hasn't forgotten what they owe him.
And now they are going to pay...and pay...and pay....
Genre - Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
5+ Rip-Roaring, Mind-Blowing Stars!!!
The Best Is Yet To Come? Nope, It Has Arrived!
I. COULD. NOT. PUT. THIS. BOOK. DOWN!!! :) Seriously, it was THAT Awesome!!!
As the old cliché goes, “I didn’t think this could get any better” but here we are with the eighth installment in the Cal Leandrosseries and the “get” keeps on “getting” and the “go” keeps on “going”. This series just gets better and better with each book and in no way seems to be slowing down!
I have been a fan of Rob Thurman for years, since I first picked up book one in this series, Nightlife, when I was catapulted into the chaotic lives of both Niko and Cal. Niko, the older human brother, with his ninja like skills and his Buddhist ways has always been determined to keep Cal safe and devoted to giving him as normal a life as possible. Cal, the younger brother, isn’t like most guys. He’s half Auphe, half human and is constantly at war with the evil Auphe half and his human conscience, trying to live each day in a way his brother can be proud. To say the brothers are close is an understatement. A better word would probably be unhealthy codependency, but I don’t care. I LOVE the way these bothers LOVE one another. The bromance is strong with these two!
Slashback is written in two amazing parts with alternating POV’s and timelines.
We the readers asked and boy did we receive. I know Im not alone when I begged the author to give us more glimpses into the brothers past. Rob Thurman did not disappoint. From Niko’s POV, we go back in time to when the brothers were fifteen and eleven, living in yet another dilapidated house, in another low-rent neighborhood, basically surviving on their own as their malicious mother is thankfully out on one of her extended leaves. Niko’s working, going to high school and is raising Cal, trying to instill morals and a sense of normalcy in his life while monsters roam outside their windows and doors. Life seems to be trying to convince the brothers normal is a complete illusion all the while Niko is trying to convince Cal their neighbor is not a serial killer.
In the present, something from their supernatural world is skinning humans and as usual the brothers are in the thick of it, up against a foe that seems to be unstoppable. Cal takes on the usual POV with his sarcastic wit and bleak outlook on life. In the past couple of months, his life has changed dramatically, his Auphe part trying to be more dominant and his humanity sliding a bit further out of reach. But unlike in the past, where Niko has taken charge and slain Cal’s demons, Cal finds himself in the unfamiliar position of having to protect Niko and after all Niko’s done for him, he is determined to save the one person in his world that means everything to him.
We see the loss of innocence and the beginning of their self-reproach. It’s a frightful thing when one losses confidence but we see their solidarity and unity and love and in the mist of all this is the slightest glimmer of hope when all seems lost.
The usual cast of remarkable characters is back and ready to play including the amazing Goodfellow in all his sexually outspoken goodness, once again fighting side by side with the inseparable brothers. But he’s got a secret to tell and it’s a whopper!
I love Niko and Cal. Niko is the wiser, older and more stable of the brothers and his love for his younger half is reliable and dangerously interconnected but beautiful and bright. Even with recent friends by their side, they are all each other have had in the past and all each other really trust explicitly. Niko would do anything for Cal and Cal in return would do anything for him. Cal is strong-willed as well as self-deprecating, but his since of loyalty to his brother and even his friends is what draws me to him. He’s good even though he seems himself as evil and though with recent events having tainted his world and he’s bordering the line between that good and evil, you know he will stay on the right side of things because he wants to honor and protect the love and faith that Niko has in him. These two are soul mates! It’s that simple. Not in the “oh you’re my soul mate and I love you baby” kind of way but in the “no matter what life or time throws our way, we will always have a trust and love between us that’s unbreakable”. Comrades in arms and in life. Always.
The Wrap Up:
I love this series so much. Besides the phenomenal and brilliant world Rob Thurman invites us into through her books, the friendships, the brothers, the sense of family, regardless of blood is what brings me back to these books time and again. Niko and Cal. Goodfellow, Ishiah, Promise and the cast of other worldly characters we see, both friend and foe. I love them all as I watch the brothers fight for a better world. I will always come back to this series! This is my feel good place.
Just A Few Of My Favorite Book Quotes/Passages:
It was better for everyone to let my brother handle the moral issues while I played to my strengths: Violence, sarcasm, and a respectable collection of pornography. - Cal
Nothing says “Hi! Nice to meet ya!” like a dead, tortured woman crashing on top of you. A basket of muffins and a balloon bouquet couldn’t match that for the goddamn personal touch. - Cal
We all develop coping mechanisms. Niko imposed order on chaos. I imposed chaos on those not fast enough to get out of my way. Whatever worked. - Cal
“Cal is his own person. I learned at a young age to accept that or step in front of a bus and move on to my next incarnation.” – Niko
“Where’s my card? I have a lifelong platinum-class come-and-go-as-I-please membership card. Wait… where’s my card for Aphrodite’s Pleasure Palace – best strippers in Greece? Godiva’s Clothing Optional Hair Salon?” replacement cards were pulled out, read in the light spilling from inside the house, and discarded as if they burned to the touch. “The Salvation Army? Big Brothers, Big Sisters? Soup Kitchen? Humanitarian aid in a trickster’s wallet? My wallet? The horror was clean and true in his voice. “I am tainted beyond redemption.” – Goodfellow
Moving carefully, I nudged his foot with mine. “That fifteen-year old kid was my hero and no one, not even you, gets to say shit about him, all right? He was a hero and there is nothing he did or didn’t do that will ever change that.” – Cal
The wonder was Nik himself who did not give up on me, no matter the odds, who saved my ass ever last time. – Cal
“You’ve seen Goodfellow naked. Hell, we both have.” Accidentally or catastrophically, both adjectives applied to that occasion. “I don’t want him or the Godzilla that doubles as his disk mocking Cal Junior and he would, that bastard. – Cal
“Now toast for the love of Priapus’s ever-upright phallus.” – Goodfellow
Lions didn’t play to win. Lions didn’t play at all. Lions survived. – Niko